Airbus Military has formally delivered the fifth and final new generation A330 MRTT multi-role tanker transport ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).The handover of the aircraft, the world´s most advanced air-to-air tanker, marks a major milestone for the A330 MRTT programme and confirms the RAAF´s global leadership role in developing modern tanker/transport operations. Designated the KC-30A by the RAAF, it was converted from an Airbus A330 commercial passenger jet by Qantas Defence Services in Brisbane, and will serve with No. 33 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley.
Airbus Military Vice President Derivative Programmes, Antonio Caramazana said: “It is an enormous pleasure to make this landmark delivery which confirms the reality of the A330 MRTT as the world´s only certified and flying new generation tanker/transport. We greatly appreciate the cooperative role of the RAAF in bringing this aircraft from development into service and we look forward to the declaration of Initial Operating Capability (IOC) of the KC-30A in the very near future.”
Air Commodore Gary Martin, RAAF Commander Air Lift Group said: “We are very pleased with the in-service testing of the KC-30A and we expect to declare IOC before the end of the year. RAAF F/A-18A and B aircraft now conduct routine refuelling missions with the KC-30A, and the pilots are happy with the KC-30A tanking experience. The KC-30A makes a tremendous contribution to Australia’s need to move large numbers of personnel and cargo over long distances, both domestically and throughout the Asia Pacific region.”
In RAAF service the A330 MRTT is equipped with two underwing refuelling pods, the fly-by-wire Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), and a Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) enabling it to be refuelled from another tanker. Powered by two General Electric CF6-80E engines, the aircraft equipped with a comprehensive defensive aids suite (DAS) and fitted with 270 passenger seats.
The Airbus Military A330 MRTT is the only new generation strategic tanker/transport aircraft flying and available today. The large 111 tonnes/ 245,000 lb basic fuel capacity of the successful A330-200 airliner, from which it is derived, enables the A330 MRTT to excel in Air-to-Air Refuelling missions without the need for any additional fuel tank. The A330 MRTT is offered with a choice of proven air-to-air refuelling systems including an advanced Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System, and/or a pair of under-wing hose and drogue pods, and/or a Fuselage Refuelling Unit.
Thanks to its true wide-body fuselage, the A330 MRTT can also be used as a pure transport aircraft able to carry 300 troops, or a payload of up to 45 tonnes/99,000 lb. It can also easily be converted to accommodate up to 130 stretchers for Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC). To-date, a total of 28 A330 MRTTs have been ordered by four customers (Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom), with one (Saudi Arabia) having already placed a repeat order.